A ‘Space Plane’ could Get You from London to New York in Just an Hour

Credit: CNN Travel

Don’t you just hate long flights and jet lag?

Well, this may be the case no more, especially if you will be traveling from the UK to the US. The UK Space Agency announced its plans for a “space plane” that can carry passengers from New York to London in just one hour. Even bigger news to this already big claim is that the pane could be in the skies commercially by the 2030s.

At the UK Space Conference in Wales on Tuesday, CEO of UK Space Agency, Graham Turnock, spoke about a plane capable of flying at Mach 5.4. To put it into perspective, a direct route from the UK to Australia will likely take about 20 hours. But with a plane that is capable of flying at Mach 5.4, passengers would be able to get there in as little as four hours.

The space plane would be powered by a hypersonic engine, which would be powered by a combination of hydrogen and oxygen. This would make it more environmentally friendly and cheaper than current airplane engines.

A team at the UK Space Agency is already testing the engine on the ground and hopes to have a space plane in the air for test flights by the mid-2020s.

The space plane is expected to taking flying to the extreme; the hypersonic aircraft would be capable of traveling five times the speed of sound. Fighter jets are really the only type of aircraft that can achieve such a speed because hypersonic air often causes the engine to overheat. But fighter jets have a complex cooling system that goes far beyond what a typical commercial aircraft would carry.

Also working on a super-fast new plane model capable of taking passengers from New York to Los Angeles in as little as three hours is NASA. The agency’s supersonic jets are hoping to get the planes up and running by 2021.

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